University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Barrier Busters v. City of Erie DR-PA-0006
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00203-SPB ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
On June 27, 2002, Barrier Busters (a disability advocacy group) and a class of disabled individuals filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, against the City of Erie, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that since 1992, when the ADA went into effect, the ... read more >
On June 27, 2002, Barrier Busters (a disability advocacy group) and a class of disabled individuals filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, against the City of Erie, PA. The Plaintiffs alleged that since 1992, when the ADA went into effect, the city of Erie had frequently failed to install mandatory curb cuts and to otherwise comply with the accessibility mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq., when it performed road and sidewalk construction and alterations.

The parties entered a court-approved Partial Consent Decree on March 18, 2003. On September 16, 2003, the parties entered a Second Partial Consent Decree and Partial Settlement; a Third Consent Decree was entered on April 1, 2004, and a fourth on February 2, 2005. The Clearinghouse has not obtained these Consent Decrees, but it is clear from later documents that Erie made substantial commitments to both ensure adherance to the ADA curb cut requirements for new roads and future resurfacing projects, and to retrofit with curb cuts all areas where roads were built or resurfaced after the January 26, 1992 effective date of the ADA. Erie committed to make annual reports showing where new road work had taken place and where new curb cuts were built. These Consent Agreements also recognized that Erie was not responsible for the non-compliance of state roads and highways in Erie that were resurfaced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In 2006, a separate case was filed against PennDOT, addressing the issues of ADA compliance and curb cuts on state roads in Erie. See related cases. The plaintiffs there were represented by the same attorneys as in this case.

In 2010, the Plaintiffs observed that there had been street resurfacings performed by the City of Erie in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, which should have triggered the construction of ADA-compliant curb cuts, but where none were built, contrary to the earlier agreements. On September 27, 2011, the parties agreed to a court-approved stipulated order wherein Erie agreed to retrofit these sites with curb cuts and to pay Plaintiffs $31,000 in attorneys' fees and costs for the period from March 11, 2011, to August 26, 2011. This stipulated order did not abrogate the earlier Consent Agreements.

A Second Stipulated Order was entered on August 31, 2012, after was discovered that Erie had again failed to install curb cuts. The city agreed to take remedial action to install these curb cuts, and agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the Plaintiffs for attorneys' fees and costs.

On April 17, 2013, a Third Stipulated Order was entered, which changed Erie's reporting obligations to the Plaintiffs to make the process more efficient. Erie agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the Plaintiffs for attorneys' fees and costs.

The various Consent Decrees and Stipulated Orders are still in place.

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/13/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Barrier Removal
Disparate Impact
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Sidewalks
Transportation
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Erie, PA
Plaintiff Description Barrier Busters, a disability advocacy group, and a class of disabled individuals, alleging that Erie, PA failed to provide adequate curb cuts as required by the ADA.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2003 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing DR-PA-0004 : Voices for Independence v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (W.D. Pa.)
DR-PA-0003 : Voices for Independence v. Meadville (W.D. Pa.)
Docket(s)
1:02-cv-203 (W.D. Pa.) 04/18/2013
DR-PA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Barrier Busters v. City of Erie - United States' Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Restrict Plaintiffs’ Action to A Two-Year Pre-Filing Period 08/08/2003
DR-PA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Stipulated Order Regarding Interpretation Among Plaintiffs and Defendant City of Erie 09/27/2011 (W.D. Pa.)
DR-PA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2011 Progress Report of City of Erie, Pennsylvania ADA Curb Ramp Program 01/31/2012
DR-PA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Stipulated Order Between Plaintiffs and Defendant Erie 08/31/2012 (W.D. Pa.)
DR-PA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Stipulated Order Among Plaintiffs and Defendant City of Erie 04/15/2013
DR-PA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Baxter, Susan Paradise (W.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
DR-PA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Finnegan, John Mark (Michigan)
DR-PA-0006-0001 | DR-PA-0006-0003 | DR-PA-0006-0004 | DR-PA-0006-9000
Markham, Craig A. (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0006-0001 | DR-PA-0006-0003 | DR-PA-0006-0004 | DR-PA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Villella, Gerald (Pennsylvania)
DR-PA-0006-0001 | DR-PA-0006-0003 | DR-PA-0006-0004 | DR-PA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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